The IJN Fleet Oiler Toho Maru and the mystery of the SS-211 Gudgeon


IJN Fleet Oiler Toho Maru at 1/700 scale and the mystery of the SS-211 Gudgeon

 

Toho Maru after completion and before being converted into IJN Fleet Oiler

Toho Maru oil tanker after completion in 1937 and before being converted into IJN Fleet Oiler

 

The collection of waterline series is endless and every week we discover new jewels. This time i briefly review about a naval tank fuel ship (oiler) called Toho Maru. The ship was laid down on 1st May 1936, launched on October 1936 and completed on  December 1936. The initial design was as a civilian oil tanker for the company Iino Line. However, due to the war efforts was requisitioned by the Imperial Japanese Navy and converted into a replenishment oiler.  The maximum speed was 19.5 knots, and had a capacity of 12,700 tones of crude oil. The armament consisted of a single 4.7 in (120 mm) gun. During the Pacific War, it traveled around most of the advanced Japanese positions. and was torpedoed and sunk in the Makassar Strait by the submarine Gudgeon (SS-211) (see below).

The Fujimi manufacturer offers a unique model kit for this emblematic ship at 1/700 scale.

 

Fleet Oiler Toho Maru Ship Timeline Main dates

Name: Tōhō Maru
Laid down: 1 May 1936
Launched: 31 October 1936
Completed: 24 December 1936
Acquired: by requisition, 20 August 1941
Fate: Sunk by torpedo, 29 March 1943

Naval Specifications Table

Tonnage: 10,000 GT
Length: 503 ft (153 m)
Beam: 65 ft (20 m)
Draught: 37 ft (11 m)
Propulsion: 1 × Kawasaki diesel engine, 8,600 hp (6,413 kW)
Speed: 19.5 knots (36.1 km/h; 22.4 mph)
Capacity: approx. 12,700 tons of crude oil
Armament: 1 × 4.7 in (120 mm) gun

The mystery of the SS-211 Gudgeon

The United States Navy  submarine  SS-221 Gudgeon in 1941

The United States Navy submarine SS-221 Gudgeon in 1941

 

The SS-211 Gudgeon was a Tambor class diesel-electric submarine commissioned on 21 April 1941. During her three-year career, Gudgeon performed eleven war patrols, scored 14 confirmed kills of a total of well over 71,372 tons sunk, placing her 15th on the honor roll of American submarines. She also sunk the IJN Toho Maru Fleet Oiler.

The loss of the SS-211 Gudgeon is still a mystery.  She sailed for her 12th war patrol on 4 April 1944 and stopped off for fuel at Johnston Island on 7 April, and was never seen or heard from again. On 7 June 1944, Gudgeon was officially declared overdue and presumed lost.

The Gudgeon received the Presidential Unit Citation for her excellent performance during her first seven war patrols.  She also earned 11 battle stars for World War II service.

 

Submarine SS-211 Specifications Table

 

Class and type: Tambor class diesel-electric submarine
Displacement:
  • 1,475 long tons (1,499 t) standard, surfaced
  • 2,370 long tons (2,410 t) submerged
Length: 307 ft 2 in (93.62 m)
Beam: 27 ft 3 in (8.31 m)
Draft: 14 ft 7 12 in (4.458 m)
Propulsion:
  • 4 × Fairbanks-Morse Model 38D8-⅛ 9-cylinder opposed piston diesel enginesdriving electrical generators
  • 2 × 126-cell Sargo batteries
  • 4 × high-speed General Electric electric motors with reduction gears
  • two propellers
  • 5,400 shp (4.0 MW) surfaced
  • 2,740 shp (2.0 MW) submerged
Speed:
  • 20.4 knots (38 km/h) surfaced
  • 8.75 knots (16 km/h) submerged
Range: 11,000 nautical miles (20,000 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h)
Endurance: 48 hours at 2 knots (3.7 km/h) submerged
Test depth: 250 ft (76 m)
Complement: 6 officers, 54 enlisted
Armament:
  • 10 × 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes
    • 6 forward, 4 aft
    • 24 torpedoes
  • 1 × 3-inch (76 mm) / 50 caliber deck gun
  • Bofors 40 mm and Oerlikon 20 mm cannon

 

Although the SS-211 has not been built as model kit as far as I know, there are other interesting options such as this set from Tamiya: 1/700 U.S. Submarine Gato Class & Japanese Submarine Chaser No.13 Item 31903

Over 200 of the mass-produced U.S. Navy Gato-class submarines were built from the start of WWII and they dealt a severe blow to Japan’s merchant shipping. To combat them, the Japanese Navy developed the Submarine Chaser No.13. This set includes 2 of each type of ship. Modellers can choose to depict the submarine with various armament and in either waterline or full hull form. The Sub Chaser No.13 features detailed depth charge launchers, 80mm DP gun, and anti-aircraft guns. Furthermore, parts for two U.S. B-24 Liberator bombers, which were used in attacks against shipping, are also included.

 

1/700 U.S. Submarine Gato Class & Japanese Submarine Chaser No.13  Item 31903 

1/700 U.S. Submarine Gato Class & Japanese Submarine Chaser No.13 Item 31903

 

1/700 U.S. Submarine Gato Class & Japanese Submarine Chaser No.13  Item 31903 

1/700 U.S. Submarine Gato Class & Japanese Submarine Chaser No.13
Item 31903


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